Kudu Bar: Gone but not forgotten
BLACK was the theme colour for last Friday’s Remember Kudu Bar party session which saw Bulawayo’s socialites, revellers and celebrities come out to play during a night dedicated to the now defunct joint.
Black is the colour of mourning and those that remember Kudu Bar in its raucous former glory would no doubt, have been downcast at the prospect of another once off opening of the club.
Kudu Bar’s death is an uneasy one and its latest resurrection served to highlight that it’s not at peace in its grave, with the people that made the joint what it was also not ready to see its bones turn to dust just yet.
However, if Friday’s event was a memorial service, the second such event held for the club this year, it was one that stayed true to the ethos of the Kudu Bar of old as the shuffling feet of revellers swept away the cobwebs from the joint’s famed dance floor. Friday’s event had an air of exclusivity around it, with a neatly laid out red carpet leading to the entrance of the bar.
This feature perhaps showed that although it has been lying dormant for a few years, Kudu Bar has grown-up posthumously, in as much as the people that used to frequent the joint have also piled on the years in its absence.
Although classy, the old Kudu Bar was not a snob in its outlook, making friends with any fun loving reveller.
Whether one woke up to the chirping of birds in the city’s leafy suburbs or the aggressive chants of touts in the western half of the city, all were welcome under Kudu’s umbrella.
For the newbie who had come for a normal Friday night out at Hartsfield Tshisa Nyama, the five-star treatment those milling around to step on Kudu Bar’s hallowed turf would have seemed much ado about nothing.
Hartsfield Tshisa Nyama has, for the past few years, been penning the script for its own legend that awaits future recitation.
For some, it is the be all and end all of vibrant outdoor entertainment just like Hartsfield was for clubbers before its closure.
However, even for the uninitiated it was apparent that the old magic, for a night at least, was back as the old joint woke up, not with the creak of a long slumbering joint, but the lithe grace of a beast that has been waiting its awakening.
The empty space that most revellers don’t even glance at when they seek relief on a normal Tshisa Nyama night came alive as tables, chairs, couches and music drove away the funeral atmosphere that now haunts the joint.
The bar was also a hive of activity as those in attendance did not seem to mind parting with their hard won dollars.
The city has a high turnover of clubs, with new joints being resurrected on the graves of those whose memories have not even faded.
However, rarely has a club’s legacy endured the way Kudu Bar has, clinging to the memories of those that once danced the nights away under its strobe lights.
But what makes Kudu Bar special? Perhaps in its prime, the club represented the rebellious and fun loving spirit of Bulawayo.
Everyone has a Kudu Bar story to tell, none more so than Babongile Sikhonjwa who was the erstwhile commander-in-chief of all things fun and naughty at the joint. It was at his behest that the rule book was shredded night after night.
“Basically we were a club without rules. Old clubs would tell people not to wear hats and other such silly rules. Instead, we encouraged people to jump on tables or shout obscenities.
‘‘We also contributed to the numbers in the census because babies were made at Kudu,” said Sikhonjwa.
“I remember when DJ Cleo came to the Hockey Stadium and the after party for that event was held at Kudu. We had a queue so long that people had to go up the stairs to wait to pay to enter the club.
“First we charged $5, then $10 in hope that people would leave. At $20 even more were still coming in. That day was a turning point for Kudu.”
Perhaps the wild happenings that made Kudu Bar work are what undid it at the end, as it began to attract unwanted attention.
“For young guys with no financial backing what we did was amazing. Six years later, people still remember Kudu Bar. We left a mark the same way the likes of Windermere and Silver Fox did,” said Sikhonjwa.
Last Friday however, there were no raunchy stories to share as Kudu Bar took another breath one more time. DJ TIRA had blood on his hands on Saturday – but it was for a good reason. As part of the traditional wedding process, Tira’s wife Gugu Khathi hosted an umbondo ceremony – a traditional gathering where a cow is slaughtered – at Tira’s KwaHlabisa homestead, in KZN.
The popular musician, whose real name is Mthokozisi Khathi, recently married Gugu but they did not perform umabo. During the ceremony, the two families come together and the bride is introduced to the ancestors. Traditionally, the bride’s family has to offer gifts to the groom’s family after the traditional wedding.
Gugu said: “We’ve been preparing for this day for some time. Tira’s family is a very warm family.”
DJ Tira praised Gugu for being a wonderful and respectful wife.
“Since I met my wife, I learnt to be humble and I also learnt to respect other people. What we’re doing today is part of our tradition. She’s bringing umbondo.
“We’re not rushing, because we’re happy. We had to do this first, but maybe next year, we’ll do our white wedding,” said Tira.
DJ Tira was born and raised in the area and on Saturday, the residents hailed him as their hero who put their kasi on the map.
“I spent most of my time indoors when I was a kid. My dream was to become a successful businessman.
“I’m happy to be a good example to other young people.” – DailySun
DJ Tira and wife Gugu Khathi cutting their traditional wedding cake